oa South African Medical Journal - Buckwheat allergy : an investigation of asthma associated with flour substitutes used in the baking industry

Volume 21, Issue 19
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Cassava and buckwheat flours, introduced for a period as flour substitutes in the local baking industry, have come under suspicion as causal agents of allergic symptoms in bakers and confectioners . Three cases of asthma and allergic coryza are descriptionbed and considered to be etiologically associated with buckwheat sensitivity. Clinically, reactions to buckwheat were produced in these cases by the inhalation of the flour, and in two of the cases symptoms were also provokedby the eating of baked buckwheat products. Allergic skin tests with cassia and buckwheat flour extracts confirmed sensitivity to buckwheat; cassava sensitivity, however, could not be demonstrated. In neither of two cases submitted to skintesting procedures were unduly severe reactions observed. The explanation probably lies in the fact that the cases under review were not as highly sensitive to buckwheat as those previously descriptionbed. Attempts at desensitization were made with buckwheat extract in two cases . Treatment was not completed in either case, but in one patient there was no evidence of amelioration of symptoms after three months of such therapeutic measures.

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